These Friends Met on a Cruise and Bonded Over Their Love of Dogs, Which They Turned Into a $378 Million-a-Year Business Plus, what happens when your entire office is filled with furry friends?
It's been a crazy time at Bark — but then again, the company was born out of a crazy time. Years ago, Henrik Werdelin checked into a conference on a cruise ship to find his room had a heart-shaped bed that was separated in two for a random roommate (he'd taken the cheaper option). As a joke, he pushed the "heart" together. Returning that night, he found Matt Meeker in it, already asleep. The two, both straight, shook hands over the duvet, discovered a mutual love of dogs, and in 2012 started the subscription BarkBox with Carly Strife, which they turned into a $378 million–a-year, 440-plus employee, full dog lifestyle brand that went public via SPAC this year.
Bark's New York office is as quirky as its origin story. It has a toilet with a sink in its top and hidden cartoon doodles for employees to stumble on — "to rewire their brain so they'll think a bit differently," says Werdelin — and, of course, everyone can bring their dog. There are rules (on leash till 4 p.m.) and special nooks for cozying up together, pooch bars, and paw washers; pet insurance is a benefit. The humans get ideas for products watching the pups play, and the pups? "It's just so de-stressing," says Werdelin. "When you're sitting in a meeting and it's a tense moment, I guarantee you there's a dog that will fart or do something that nobody can help laughing at." Here's what it's like working there.